Malorie Blackman OBE is an author of literature and television drama for children and young adults. She has used science fiction to explore social and ethical issues. Her critically and popularly acclaimed Noughts & Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism. She was mentioned in the lyrics of Written in the Stars, a song by Tinie Tempah that reached #1 on the UK singles chart.
The cover of the 2002 paperback of Noughts & Crosses
Malorie Blackman was born on 8 February 1962. While at school, she wanted to be an English teacher but grew up to become a systems programmer instead. She earned a HNC at Thames Polytechnic and is a graduate of the National Film and Television School.
Blackman married her Scottish husband Neil in the 1990s and their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1995. Blackman has described herself, "I'm just Malorie Blackman – a black woman writer." Her private school education was funded through a series of grants offered to her through her "exceptional writing" and her parents funded the rest of the fees through a series of low-paid jobs. This influenced Blackman's first book, Not So Stupid, which was a collection of horror and science fiction stories for young adults, published in November 1990. Since then she has written more than fifty children's books, including novels and short story collections, and also television scripts and a stage play. Her work has won more than fifteen awards. Blackman's television scripts include episodes of the long-running, children's drama Byker Grove, as well as television adaptations of her novels Whizziwig and Pig-Heart Boy. Her books have been translated into over fifteen languages including Spanish, Welsh, German, Japanese, Chinese and French.
Blackman's award-winning Noughts & Crosses series, exploring love, racism, and violence, is set in a fictional dystopia. Explaining her choice of title, in a 2007 interview for the BBC's Blast website, Blackman said noughts and crosses is "...one of those games that nobody ever plays after childhood, because nobody ever wins..." In an interview for The Times, Blackman said that before writing Noughts & Crosses her protagonists' ethnicites were never central to the plots of her books. She has also said, "I wanted to show black children just getting on with their lives, having adventures, and solving their dilemmas, like the characters in all the books I read as a child." Blackman eventually decided to address racism directly. She reused some details from her own experience, including an occasion when she needed a plaster and found they were designed to be inconspicuous only on white people's skin. The Times interviewer Amanda Craig speculated about why the Noughts & Crosses series was not, for a long time, published in the United States: "though there was considerable interest, 9/11 killed off the possibility of publishing any book describing what might drive someone to become a terrorist." Noughts and Crosses is now available in the US published under the title Black & White (Simon & Schuster Publishers, 2005).
Noughts & Crosses was #61 on the Big Read list, a 2003 BBC survey to find "The Nation's Best-Loved Book", with more votes than A Tale of Two Cities, several Terry Pratchett novels, and Lord of the Flies.
She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.
Malorie Blackman lives with her husband, Neil and daughter, Elizabeth in Kent, England. In her free time she likes to play her piano, compose, play computer games and write poetry.
The cover of the 2003, first edition, paperback of An Eye for an Eye
Novels for young adults
- Not So Stupid!: Incredible Short Stories, The Women's Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7043-4924-8
- Trust Me, Livewire, 1992, ISBN 0-7043-4931-0
- Words Last Forever, Mammoth, 1998, ISBN 0-7497-2983-X
- The Noughts & Crosses series
- Noughts & Crosses, Doubleday, 2001, ISBN 0-385-60008-9
- An Eye for an Eye, Corgi Children's, 2003, ISBN 0-552-54925-8
- Knife Edge, Doubleday, 2004, ISBN 0-385-60527-7
- Checkmate, Doubleday, 2005, ISBN 0-385-60773-3
- Double Cross, Doubleday, 2008,6 November
- The Stuff of Nightmares, Doubleday, 2007, ISBN 0-385-61043-2
- Boys Don't Cry
- Unheard Voices: An Anthology of Stories and Poems to Commemorate the Bicentenary Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, editor Malorie Blackman, Corgi Children's, 2007, ISBN 0-552-55600-9
Short stories for young adults
- "Humming Through My Fingers" in the multi-author collection Shining on: A Collection of Stories in Aid of the Teen Cancer Trust, Picadilly Press, 2006, ISBN 1-85340-893-X
- Short story in the multi-author collection The Crew and Other Teen Fiction, Heinemann Library, ISBN 0-431-01875-8
Novels for children
- Hacker, Doubleday, 1992, ISBN 0-385-40278-3
- Operation Gadgetman!, Doubleday, 1993, ISBN 0-385-40337-2
- Jack Sweettooth the 73rd, Viking Children's Books, 1995, ISBN 0-670-85539-1
- The Space Stowaway, Ginn, 1995, ISBN 0-602-26393-X
- Whizziwig (illustrated by Stephen Lee), Viking Children's Books, 1995, ISBN 0-670-85705-X
- Thief!, Doubleday, 1996, ISBN 0-552-52808-0
- A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E, Doubleday, 1997, ISBN 0-552-52839-0
- Pig Heart Boy, Doubleday, 1997, ISBN 0-385-40681-9
- Animal Avengers (illustrated by Bill Greenhead and Stik), Mammoth, 1999, ISBN 0-7497-3557-0
- Dangerous Reality, Doubleday, 1999, ISBN 0-385-40680-0
- Don't Be Afraid  (illustrated by Bob Harvey), Ginn, 1999, ISBN 0-602-27549-0
- Forbidden Game, Puffin Books, 1999, ISBN 0-14-130321-2
- Hostage  (illustrated by Derek Brazell), Barrington Stoke, 1999, ISBN 1-902260-12-0
- Tell Me No Lies, Macmillan Children's Books, 1999, ISBN 0-333-72645-6
- Whizziwig Returns (illustrated by Stephen Lee), Puffin, 1999, ISBN 0-14-130458-8
- Dead Gorgeous, Doubleday, 2002, ISBN 0-385-60009-7
- Cloud Busting, Doubleday, 2004, ISBN 0-385-60796-2
- The Deadly Dare Mysteries (contents: Deadly Dare, Computer Ghost, Lie Detectives; illustrated by Neil Chapman), Corgi Children's, 2005, ISBN 0-552-55353-0
- Whizziwig and Whizziwig Returns  (illustrated by Stephen Lee), Corgi Children's, 2005, ISBN 0-440-86657-X
Short stories for children
- "Contact" in the multi-author collection Out of This World: Stories of Virtual Reality (chosen by Wendy Cooling), Dolphin, 1997, ISBN 1-85881-602-5
- Aesop's Fables (retold by Malorie Blackman, illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Scholastic, 1998, ISBN 0-590-54382-2
- "Dare to be Different" (illustrated by Jane Ray) in the multi-author collection Dare to be Different, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0-7475-4021-7
- "Peacemaker" in the multi-author collection Peacemaker and Other Stories (illustrated by Peter Richardson and David Hine), Heinemann Educational, 1999, ISBN 0-435-11600-2 20220202857574939
Books for new readers
- The Betsey Biggalow stories:
- Betsey Biggalow the Detective (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1992, ISBN 1-85340-163-3
- Betsey Biggalow is Here! (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1992, ISBN 1-85340-172-2
- Hurricane Betsey (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1993, ISBN 1-85340-199-4
- Magic Betsey (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1994, ISBN 1-85340-237-0
- Betsey's Birthday Surprise (illustrated by Lis Toft), Piccadilly Press, 1996, ISBN 0-590-55864-1
- The Girl Wonder series:
- Girl Wonder and the Terrific Twins (illustrated by Pat Ludlow), Orion Children's Books, 1991, ISBN 0-575-05048-9
- Girl Wonder's Winter Adventures (illustrated by Lis Toft), Orion Children's Books, 1992, ISBN 0-575-05383-6
- Girl Wonder to the Rescue (illustrated by Lis Toft), Gollancz, 1994, ISBN 0-575-05774-2
- The Amazing Adventures of Girl Wonder (illustrated by Lis Toft), Barn Owl Books, 2003, ISBN 1-903015-27-8
- The Puzzle Planet adventures:
- Peril on Planet Pellia (illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-85213-935-8
- The Mellion Moon Mystery (illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-85213-936-6
- The Secret of the Terrible Hand (illustrated by Patrice Aggs), Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-86039-370-5
- Quasar Quartz Quest (illustrated by Patrice Aggs) Orchard Books, 1996, ISBN 1-85213-938-2
- The Longman Book Project (with translations to Welsh):
- Elaine You're a Brat!  (illustrated by Doffy Weir), Orchard Books, 1991, ISBN 1-85213-365-1
- My Friend's a Gris-Quok (illustrated by Philip Hopman), Scholastic, 1994, ISBN 0-590-55864-1
- Grandma Gertie's Haunted Handbag (illustrated by David Price), Heinemann, 1996, ISBN 0-434-97225-8
- Space Race (illustrated by Colin Mier), Corgi Children's, 1997, ISBN 0-552-54542-2
- Fangs (illustrated by Tony Blundell), Orchard Books, 1998, ISBN 1-86039-734-4
- Snow Dog (illustrated by Sabrina Good), Corgi Children's, 2001, ISBN 0-552-54703-4
- The Monster Crisp-Guzzler (illustrated by Saynab Abdalla), Corgi Children's, 2002, ISBN 0-552-54783-2
- Sinclair, Wonder Bear (illustrated by Deborah Allwright), Egmont Books, 2003, ISBN 1-4052-0589-X
- That New Dress  (illustrated by Rhian Nest James), Hodder Wayland, 1991, ISBN 0-7500-0442-8
- Mrs Spoon's Family (illustrated by Jan McCafferty), Andersen Press, 1995, ISBN 0-86264-582-4
- Dizzy's Walk (illustrated by Pamela Venus), Tamarind, 1999, ISBN 1-870516-41-9
- Marty Monster (illustrated by Kim Harley), Tamarind, 1999, ISBN 1-870516-42-7
- I Want a Cuddle! (illustrated by Joanne Partis), Orchard Books, 2001, ISBN 1-84121-823-5
- Jessica Strange (with Alison Bartlett), Hodder Children's Books, 2002, ISBN 0-340-77963-2
- Contributed to A Christmas Tree of Stories, Scholastic Press, 1999, ISBN 0-439-01192-2
Her novel Operation Gadgetman! was also adapted into a 1996 TV movie directed by Jim Goddard and starring Marina Sirtis.
- The Amazing Birthday
- Noughts and Crosses
Awards and nominations
The cover of the 2004, first edition, hardcover of Knife Edge
Body of work
For Hacker (1995)
- 1994, W.H. Smith Mind Boggling Book of the Year Award.
- 1994, Young Telegraph/Gimme 5 Children's Book of the Year Award.
- 1995, Birmingham/TSB Children's Book Award (shortlist).
For Thief! (1996)
- 1996, Young Telegraph/Fully Booked Children's Book of the Year Award.
For A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E (1997)
- 1997, Stockport Children's Book of the Year Award (Key Stage 3 category).
- 1997, Stockton-on-Tees Children's Book Award (shortlisted).
- 1998, Sheffield Children's Book Award (highly commended).
- 2001, Stockport Schools Book Award (shortlisted).
For Pig-Heart Boy (1997)
For Tell Me No Lies (1999)
- 2000, Stockport Children's Book Award (shortlisted) (Key Stage 4 category).
For Dead Gorgeous (2002)
- 2003, Calderdale Book of the Year (shortlist).
- 2003, Salford Children's Book Award (shortlist).
The cover of the 2005, first edition, hardcover of Checkmate
For books in the Noughts & Crosses series
- 2002, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year.
- 2002, Red House Children's Book Award.
- 2002, Sheffield Children's Book Award.
- 2003, Wirral Paperback of the Year Award.
- 2004, Fantastic Fiction Award.
- 2005, Berkshire Book Award (shortlist).
- 2005, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year (shortlist).
- 2005, Redbridge Teenage Book Award (shortlist).
- 2006, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year (shortlist).
- 2006, Staffordshire Young People's Book of the Year.
For Cloud Busting (2004)
- 2004, Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Silver Award) (6–8 years category).
- 2005, Redbridge Children's Book Award (shortlist).
- 2005, Stockport Schools Book Award (shortlisted).
- 2006, Nottingham Children's Book Award (shortlist) (10–11 years category).
- 2006, West Sussex Children's Book Award (shortlist).
For Pig-Heart Boy
The cover of the 2009 paperback of Double Cross
- ^ http://www.theofficialcharts.com/archive-chart/_/1/2010-10-09
- ^ a b c d e Blackman, Malorie (1995–2007). "Malorie Blackman". Penguin UK Authors. Penguin Books Ltd.. http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Author/AuthorPage/0,,0_1000003969,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
- ^ a b c d e f Craig, Amanda (2004-01). "Malorie Blackman: the world in photographic negative". The Times. Times Newspapers Limited. http://www.amandacraig.com/pages/journalism/interviews/malorie_blackman.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- ^ "Malorie Blackman". 40 artists, 40 days. Tate Online. 2006. http://www.tate.org.uk/40artists40days/malorie_blackman.html. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- ^ a b "Full Record". British Library Integrated Catalogue. The British Library Board. http://catalogue.bl.uk. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Malorie Blackman". Contemporary Writers. British Council. 2007. http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth519D6BC107d6922CB1VoU30CEDE6. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Awards and Prizes". Kids at Random House. Random House Children's Books. http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/childrens/grownups/prizes/prizes.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
- ^ a b "Malorie Blackman - Children and Young People's Writer". Blast. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blast/about/ask/mblackman_transcript.shtml. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
- ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 9. 14 June 2008.
- ^ Preface to Tell Me No Lies
- ^ Also published as Black & White, Simon Pulse, 2007, ISBN 1-4169-0017-9
- ^ Also published in Noughts & Crosses, Corgi Children's, 2006, ISBN 0-552-55570-3
- ^ Originally published 1997
- ^ Also published as 4u2read.ok Hostage, Barrington Stoke, 2002, ISBN 1-84299-056-X, and as a "Close Look, Quick Look" photocopiable version for teachers, Barrington Stoke, 2004, ISBN 1-84299-236-8
- ^ Originally published separately as Whizziwig, 1995, and Whizzywhig Returns, 1999
- ^ Also published as Ellie, and the Cat!, Orchard Books, 2005, ISBN 1-84362-391-9
- ^ Also published as A New Dress for Maya, Gary Stevens Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-8368-0713-8